San Jose, CA — It’s been a wild April for featherweight fighter Adli Edwards, who steps in on short notice against Aaron Pico at Bellator 277 this weekend.
“I think the best way to describe it is chaos. It’s been wild,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press during this week’s Bellator 277 media day. Edwards got the call to step in against Pico just a week ago, which left him in a scramble to get his medicals done. That said, there was never a question about turning down the fight, despite competing at XMMA 4 at the start of the month. “I couldn’t let it pass by. I’ve been waiting for this so long. It’s been the dream for 15 years, maybe longer I’ve been looking forward to doing this. So when that offer came by, it was a definitive ‘we’re doing this.'”
Despite the quick turnaround and hectic lead-up to the fight, Edwards is in San Jose to win this Friday. “Absolutely. I fight to win for sure. No disrespect to Aaron Pico, I think he’s a fantastic competitor and fighter, but when I get in there, it’s all about winning. I’m a winner and I like to compete, and that’s the game plan. It’s what I’m here to do.”
Pico is one of the highest profile prospects in Bellator MMA, and as such, was definitely on the radar for Edwards. “I was a wrestler, so everybody knew the hype behind Aaron Pico, as a fantastic wrestling prospect that switched to MMA. Everybody knows who Pico is,” Edwards said. “He’s a big prospect. So it will be really cool to— We just got right in there. There’s a lot of fights in Bellator that are a little easier for sure. So I’m excited, I get right in there. What I’ve been hoping for is to test myself against the best in the world, so I get that right out of the gate.”
Edwards later told Cageside Press that it feels like he’s “fulfilling my dreams. And it feels really good. I’m just happy to be here. I want to do more. I want to fight for a world title, I want to win a world title, and I’m hoping to do that and build that way. It’s nice to see all that sacrifice paying off now. I guess that’s my story.”
Of course, a win over Pico could put Adli Edwards on the fast track to a title shot. With a 9-1 record and seven straight wins, “Sunshine” is himself a blue chip prospect. Pico, meanwhile, it up there with Adam Borics in contention for the next shot at featherweight gold.
Edwards doesn’t expect to be on the fast track to the title even if he pulls off the upset on Friday, however.
“I don’t want to skip anybody in line. I want to fight for a world title, and I’m not afraid to do that,” he stated. “I’m not afraid of any of these guys in the division, and eventually I want to beat them all. I don’t think I deserve that off a win. One win, that wouldn’t be fair.”
Watch the full Bellator 277 media day appearance with Adli Edwards above. The event is set to take place this Friday, April 15, 2022 at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA.